Chairmanship Acceptance Speech at the Book Launch of “Patriotism and Nation Building”

This is our own land;
It is a priceless heritage acquired with the blood that our ancestors shed for us;
It is now our turn to continue what our ancestors started;
Bragging about educational achievements, the greed for material things and bad lifestyles are destroying our nation;
Obedience and respect, caring for the welfare of one another, selflessness in the traditional way, will ensure each person’s welfare and bring peace and prosperity to our nation;
Whether or not this nation prospers Depends on the character of its citizens.

Your Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana;

Your Majesty Okyenhene Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin,

Your Excellencies;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The foregoing words are a translation into English of Ghana’s most gripping and best-known patriotic song, “YEN ARA Y’ASAASE NI”, which was composed by the inimitable Dr. Ephraim Amu.

As a preacher, Dr. Amu’s words are prophetic. As a teacher, they are instructive. As a sage they are didactic. As a philosopher they are normative. As a leader they are a call to action and as an ancestor, they are a compass leading us towards a great destiny.

Mr. President, I have become familiar with the national anthems and patriotic songs of a number of nations but I must say that none of them tugs at my heartstrings and stirs my spirit as Dr. Ephraim Amu’s “YEN ARA Y’ASAASE NI”.

I believe that there is no Ghanaian regardless of ethnicity, religion or gender who is not familiar with this song. However, its true meaning and import need to be revived in the milieu of our national experience and if I may say so the lyrics of this song are even more profound and relevant in today’s Ghana.

It is in the spirit of this re-awakening that I accept with the greatest pleasure, honour and humility to chair this afternoon’s function.

Your Majesty, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the presence of our President at today’s function in spite of his heavy schedule is a testament of Dr. Ephraim Amu’s legacy and its impact on all of us.

“Patriotism and Nation Building” is an outstanding book! It has added immeasurably to my appreciation of the man Dr. Ephraim Amu who I only knew as a Great Composer. It has opened my eyes to the different shades of genius that he embodied with such grace and humility. He was a poet, an ethicist, a scholar, indeed he was the conscience of our dear nation. He was the corpus of the Ghanaian character.

In this book, you will discover that even in his day, Dr. Amu grappled with what have become some of the most topical issues of our time: corruption, the lack of respect for time, idleness, obsession with wealth, the lowering of moral standards and the unnerving lack of pride and respect for our traditional values.

Mr. President, Your Majesty, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, permit me to congratulate the author Professor Phillip Laryea for so eloquently encapsulating these stimulating ideas of a Great Statesman, Dr. Ephraim Amu.

Mr. President, it would be remiss of me not to express my utmost gratitude to my friend and brother, His Majesty Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, for helping me to fully appreciate the icon we celebrate today. 

Mr. President, through these sermons, the reader is certain to be impacted by Dr. Amu’s abiding philosophy that orthodoxy does not always pay. This will fillip you to dare to be different.

This book, “Patriotism and Nation Building”, is a source of inspiration and ought to be compulsory reading for us all.

May we always be guided by Dr. Ephraim Amu’s exhortation to the effect that “whether or not this nation prospers depends on the character of its citizens”.

Thank you!!!

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